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March 9, 2006 Edition

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This week:
• Front page: Bishop John Paul dies
• Front-page photo: St. Raphael Cathedral Fire: One Year Later
Marriage amendment: Approved for fall ballot
Sr. Marcia Vinje: Named Safe Environment Coordinator for diocese
News Briefs
Nominate someone for "Profiles from the pew"

Articles on St. Raphael Cathedral

L e n t
Lenten regulations (from 2/23 edition)

Retreat to be held at Schoenstatt

Lafayette Deanery conference/retreat

Adult Catholic Spirit Club plans events

Ecumenical Lenten service

Lenten mission at St. Maria Goretti

St. Vincent offers Day of Reflection

Day of Recollection

• Msgr. Delbert Schmelzer's column --
   Witnessing: To Resurrection hope in missions

Living the Scriptures

Faith Alive!

This week's readings

Lent articles from previous issues:
March 2, 2006 edition
Feb. 23, 2006 edition
Operation Rice Bowl (from 2/23 edition)

News Briefs:
Retreat to be held at Schoenstatt

MADISON -- A two-day retreat will be held at Schoenstatt Heights, 5901 Cottage Grove Rd., on Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, April 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The retreat master will be Schoenstatt Father Gerold Langsch.

The theme is: "Childlikeness before God." Holiness is the simplest thing in the world. It is the love of a child for the Father. Explore the concept of mature childlikeness as a way to relate to God and as an underlying attitude for one's life. Who is this Father God who embraces us as his own?

The cost is $30, which includes all meals and an offering for the retreat master. There are a limited number of double occupancy rooms available for $15. For reservations and more information, call Irene at 608-222-4655.

Lafayette Deanery conference/retreat

SHULLSBURG -- St. Matthew Parish here will host the Lafayette Deanery Spring Conference and Spiritual Retreat on Saturday, March 25. The theme is "A Heartfelt Journey: Lent to Easter."

Registration is at 10 a.m. followed by the business meeting at 10:15 a.m. and dinner at 11:30 a.m. The retreat will follow at 12:30 p.m. It will be a presentation of some of the Scriptures of Lent by Jacqueline Miller, pastoral associate at St. Mary Parish, Platteville. She is a Loras College graduate in pastoral studies.

A concelebrated Mass will be offered at 4:30 p.m. with Fr. Lorin Bowens, Lime Ridge, as homilist. The collection for the Catholic Relief Services Operation Rice Bowl will be taken up during the retreat.

Reservations are due March 15 to Judy Webster, Box 85, Shullsburg, WI 53586. The cost is $10.

Mothers of Preschoolers to meet

STOUGHTON -- St. Ann's MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) At Night will meet on Thursday, March 16, at 7 p.m., in the gathering area of St. Ann Church. All mothers of children birth through kindergarten are invited to attend.

This month's topic is "What's Important in the Long Run: Memories Matter Most." Speakers are MOPS mom Jenifer Gille and her mother Rita Farris. The March meeting is also Spa Night. Wear your slippers and pajamas or just come as you are and be prepared to be pampered.

Childcare is not provided; however babies birth through three months are welcome. There is a $2 fee per meeting and scholarships are available. For more information, call Laura Trotter at 608-877-8968.

Truman parish seeks
150th information

TRUMAN -- Information is currently being gathered for the 150th anniversary book for Immaculate Conception Parish in Truman. If anyone has pictures, stories, or any information on the early days of Immaculate Conception Church in Truman or Holy Assumption Church, Willow Springs, contact Jo McWilliams at 608-762-5399 or e-mail

Adult Catholic Spirit Club
plans events

JANESVILLE -- The Adult Catholic Spirit Club will have a Lenten soup and bread potluck on Wednesday, March 8, at noon in Marian Hall at St. John Vianney Parish. The program will feature Sue Gruen, director of the Elizabeth House maternity home in Madison.

On April 12, in place of a meeting, the club will take a trip to Milwaukee to view St. Peter and the Vatican Exhibit.

Ecumenical Lenten service

SINSINAWA -- "Solemn Lenten Vespers with Choral Meditations" will be held in Queen of the Rosary Chapel at the Sinsinawa Mound at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 12.

Choirs participating in this ecumenical service are the Sinsinawa Mound Civic Chorus; St. Paul Lutheran and First United Methodist from Elizabeth, Ill.; Free Methodist and St. Augustine University Parish from Platteville; and St. Matthew Lutheran from Dubuque, Iowa. They will be directed by Sr. Marie Juan Maney. Organists and trumpeters will accompany the singers. Everyone is invited to this free service.

For more information on these and other activities at the Mound, contact Guest Services at 608-748-4411 or visit

Sinsinawa Mound, the Motherhouse for the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, is located in southwest Wisconsin on Cty. Rd. Z, off Hwy. 11, about five miles northeast of Dubuque.

Lenten mission at St. Maria Goretti

MADISON -- St. Maria Goretti Parish, Flad and Gilbert Ave., is hosting a parish mission, "A Change of Heart," Sunday, March 19, through Thursday, March 23. Mission services will take place in the church beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Fr. Peter Schavitz, a Redemptorist priest, will be the mission director. His background includes youth, adult, couple, divorced, and Sisters' retreats, seminary professor, vocation ministry, parish ministry, and involvement in several radio and video projects. Presently, Father Schavitz is president of development for the Redemptorist Order. With over 230 parish missions to his credit, he continues to preach missions on a part-time basis. St. Maria Goretti Parish waited for three years for the opportunity to have Father Pete direct this mission.

The five evenings of the mission will be thought provoking and a challenge to all of us to journey deeper in faith. Each evening has a different theme: God's Plan of Salvation; Who Is Jesus for Us; Sin, Reconciliation, and Healing; Jesus as Nourishment for the Journey of Faith; and Our Mission to Share in the Work of Jesus and the Church.

Time for socializing and refreshments will be provided after all the services. Childcare for children ages one through eight (call Lora at 608-278-0026 or Terri at 608-274-6953 to pre-register) and transportation (call Ann at 608-271-7418) are also available for those who would like them.

Anyone interested in this mission is welcome to attend. For more information, call Dorothy Goigel at 608-833-7664 or visit to see a short video.

St. Vincent offers Day of Reflection

MADISON -- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul invites those interested in spiritual renewal with a charitable focus to spend "A Day of Reflection with Monsieur Vincent" on Saturday, April 1. The society will conduct a one-day retreat to reflect on the spiritual themes of the patron of charity St. Vincent de Paul.

Retreat participants will examine the virtues central to the journey of faith taken by St. Vincent de Paul. Portions of the day of reflection will be built around excerpts from the critically acclaimed 1947 film Monsieur Vincent, about the life of the 17th century French priest who dedicated himself to service on behalf of the poor, suffering, and forgotten.

Ralph Middlecamp, executive director of the District Council of Madison - Society of St. Vincent de Paul, will lead the day of reflection. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Rd. in Madison.

Catholics engaged in various helping ministries and caring professions, as well as members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and others interested in charitable service to neighbors in need are encouraged to take part in the day of reflection.

Lunch will be served, and a goodwill offering will be accepted. Those interested may register by contacting Georgette Ballweg at 608-442-9878, ext. 2, or by March 24.

Day of Recollection

MADISON -- St. Martin House will hold a Lenten Day of Recollection on Thursday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Catholic Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld St., Madison. It will be led by Msgr. George Hastrich.

There will be Mass and an opportunity for private Reconciliation. There is no charge but free will offerings are accepted. For information or to register, call Steve Maurice at 608-255-1287 or by March 14.

Marriage amendment:
Approved for fall ballot

MADISON -- Wisconsin voters will decide this November whether to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as "between one man and one woman," after the state Assembly voted 62-31 to pass the amendment February 28.

Co-authored by state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Rep. Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin), the amendment both defines marriage and prohibits the recognition of a "legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage."

If passed, Wisconsin will join 19 other states defining marriage in their constitutions. Six other states currently have amendments on the ballot this year.

The Assembly vote was the final step required in the legislature before being put on the ballot. In Wisconsin, constitutional amendments need legislature approval in two consecutive sessions before going to a statewide referendum. Both houses approved the measure in 2004 and the Senate approved it again 19-14 in December 2005.

"The bishops are pleased with the legislature's action on the proposed amendment," said John Huebscher, executive director for the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.

"Wisconsin is one step closer to placing this question before the voters and the strong vote in favor of the resolution mirrors the public sentiment on the issue," he said. "The bishops anticipate that when given the chance to approve this amendment, the voters will do so, as they have in other states where the question was put before them."

Huebscher said that in the coming debate over the amendment there is a hope that all citizens will "repudiate words and deeds" that demean those with homosexual orientations.

"Supporters of this amendment must serve only to affirm marriage, not foster hostility to any group or individual," he said. "The bishops hope they will do so with courage, compassion, and civility."

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Sr. Marcia Vinje: Named Safe Environment Coordinator for diocese

MADISON -- Sr. Marcia Vinje has accepted the position of Safe Environment Coordinator for the Diocese of Madison, according to Kevin R. Phelan, chancellor of the Diocese of Madison.

She replaces Kate Wiskus, who resigned recently for personal reasons. "Sister Marcia worked closely with Kate to build the processes and procedures for the diocesan Safe Environment Program," said Phelan.

Kyle Peterson, assistant to the coordinator with the Safe Environment Program, will report to Sister Marcia in her new capacity. "Kyle and I have worked together before and we're looking forward to working together as a team again," said Sister Marcia.

Sister Marcia will continue to work in the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, where she is an associate director.

Safe Environment Program

The Safe Environment Program was established in the Diocese of Madison in 2003 in response to the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People issued in 2002 in response to the sexual abuse crisis. As part of the Charter, the bishops required all dioceses to establish "safe environment" programs to provide education and training about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children.

As coordinator of the Safe Environment Program, Sister Marcia will oversee the program, including the training of safe environment coordinators and facilitators in every parish. Facilitators are those that train or conduct Protecting God's Children programs in parishes, Catholic schools, and religious education programs, explained Sister Marcia.

"I worked with the Safe Environment Program from the beginning, so I am familiar with it," she said. "I have already assisted in some of the facilitator training."

She said a new children's program is being piloted in several parishes at this time. "We wrote our own program," she said. "Every parish has a copy of it. We are doing the pilot programs now and in fall we will get back comments to help plan for the future."

Kate Wiskus has agreed to teach parent programs that were already scheduled this spring.

Theological ramifications

Sister Marcia discussed the importance of the Safe Environment Program. "Our work to ensure safe environments for children has theological ramifications. Their experiences at a young age impact their concept of God and consequently their relationship with him. It is truly a sacred trust to protect children.

"In the Communion of Saints every action we do or avoid affects other people. So however small our attempts to give children safety and security, they have an impact far greater than the immediate results we see. Every person involved with children who acts for their good out of love for Jesus and in his name is drawing grace down upon our society as a whole," she said.

"I think God has given the Catholic Church a gift that we can be in the forefront of the move to face the issue of child abuse and deal with the situation. It is a problem for our whole society and if we can give a faith filled answer, we will take our culture closer to reclaiming its Christian heritage. Of course, the pioneers are going to face the most difficult challenges and will have to learn through mistakes. We make it that much easier for those who will follow in our footsteps.

"Since we are doing the work of Christ on behalf of all people, we have to expect that we will share in his cross. How else can we claim the name of Christian? If only we would take that for granted more and unite our challenges and pain with Christ, it could be much more fruitful on the spiritual level.

"The abuse of children and vulnerable adults is a result of sin, sickness, and evil. Merely human programs are not enough to prevent or heal these tragedies. Therefore, an essential element of our task as the Office of Safe Environment is also to pray for the protection of children, and the conversion and healing of perpetrators of abuse. All of us have to be constantly aware that this is the work of Christ and we are only the people he has chosen to work through," emphasized Sister Marcia.

A Schoenstatt Sister of Mary, Sister Marcia has worked in diocesan offices since 2001. Prior to that, she was director of religious education at St. Andrew Parish, Verona, for 15 years. She also had previous experience working in Catholic schools.

She may be reached by phone at 608-821-3031 or e-mail to

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Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison
Mailing address: P.O. Box 44985, Madison, WI 53744-4985
Phone: 608-821-3070     Fax: 608-821-3071     E-Mail: